Author Interview with Jennifer Lush

  1. Day: What literary pilgrimages have you gone on? For Example, Hemingway’s house.

Jennifer: There have been so many! I’ll do my top three. In Salem, MA, I visited the Nathaniel Hawthorne house and the house which inspired “The House of the Seven Gables.” Faulkner House Books in New Orleans is run out of a home where he once lived. It’s the smallest bookstore I’ve ever seen! I’ve also visited the area where the Outsiders was filmed in Tulsa, OK. It’s a must for any fan. Yes, that’s a movie location, but it was based on a book.

  1. Day: If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing a book that took place in that same setting, where would you choose?

Jennifer: My initial reaction is to say Iceland because I long to visit there, but I would choose England. It’s not too exotic, but if I’m going to be there for a full year, I want comfort not adventure.

  1. Day: Picture this: You feel uninspired while you have sat at the computer for an hour without conquering any words. How do you get your creativity flowing?

Jennifer: I always write in Several stories at a time. If I’m not feeling one, there’s usually another causing my fingers to fly across the keyboard. Otherwise, I just type anything, just a couple random sentences. It will get my mind working to clean it up, make it fit the story, and that typically helps.

  1. Day: Are you a plotter or a Pantser?

Jennifer: Both! But I lean toward pantser. I have a general idea going into the story and maybe a few notes, but it unfolds as I write. Take Fogpoint Harbor for example. I had the house on the coast in mind and what happens at the house. I also knew a relative would move there and take over. The rest of it came to me as I worked on it.

  1. Day: What is your most unusual writing quirk?

Jennifer: I have to have silence to write. There are so many authors with a playlist, or they choose music to fit the tone of the scene they’re working on. It distracts me.

  1. Day: What is your favorite genre to read, and why?

Jennifer: I love horror and suspense. I want to be terrified and unable to stop turning pages because I have to know what happens at the same time.

  1. Day: Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

Jennifer: Original. I don’t write to market or follow tropes. I have more story ideas than I will live long enough to write. I write the stories consuming me and hope they find popularity.

  1. Day: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Jennifer: You’re better at this than you believe you are.

  1. Day: What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Jennifer: I’d have to say it was the bundle of ISBN’s from Bowker. IngramSpark doesn’t issue free ones, and I’m very glad I bought my own to be able to publish on that platform.

  1. Day: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

Jennifer: A squirrel. Imagine a very busy road. There’s a squirrel on one side of it and a mountain sized pile of nuts on the other. The squirrel is darting around, zig zagging, back and forth, here and there, trying to make it through the traffic to get to the nuts. That’s me. That’s my writing style.

  1. Day: How many published and finished books/Vellas do you have?

Jennifer: Under this name, I have three published books and four Vellas. The first seasons of Ravenwood and The Below will be published this fall.

  1. Day: What does literary success look like to you?

Jennifer: This is a fluid construct. It was the first time I saw my name in print. The first royalty I received. The first five star review from a stranger. Becoming a five figure author was another success milestone. I don’t think I’ll ever get to a point where I’ll be comfortable saying, “I’m a success.” I do enjoy the milestones along the way.

  1. Day: What’s the best way to market your books?

Jennifer: I wish I knew! I use social media and word of mouth the most. I’ve recently tried FB ads for one of my Vellas. I need to take out more and try some Amazon ads as well.

  1. Day: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Jennifer: I don’t research before I begin. I jump in the deep end. Some things I look up online like who was king at this time. Other things, I might ask friends. My ex-husband was a cop at one time, so he gets any questions falling into the law category. 

  1. Day: How many hours a day do you write?

Jennifer: That depends on my work schedule. I write anywhere from 0-2 hours on days I work. If it’s my day off and I have no errands to run, I could spend 12-14 hours writing.

  1. Day: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Jennifer: I usually include small bits of foreshadowing. If it will be discovered a character is a werewolf, he might bark or growl his words for example. I’d like to leave Easter eggs, but it’s not my strong suit.

  1. Day: What was your most harrowing scene to write?

Jennifer: That was chapter sixteen in the book Air: The Elementals. As difficult as it was to write, I’ve received amazing feedback from people telling me how much it hurt to read and how much they sobbed.

  1. Day: What is your favorite time to write, and why?

Jennifer: A couple hours after I wake up, whatever time that might be. It’s when my mind is freshest, and I have the most energy.

  1. Day: Do you feel like it’s most important to have A) Strong characters B) Mind-blowing Plot twists, or C) Epic settings?

Jennifer: All three are important. I like to have characters who make the reader feel something. Love them or hate them. Either way, they’ve connected.

  1. Day: Can you give a shout-out to a fellow author?

Jennifer: Yes! My friend Jinapher Hoffman is a fantasy writer, and her first book “For Mist & Tar” was recently released.

Jennifer’s top three Kindle Vellas:

Fogpoint Harbor: The Inheritance

Kat was surprised to learn of her great-aunt’s death twenty years after she had been led to believe Aunt Dot had passed away. As the soul inheritor of the estate, there was a catch. She had to live in her aunt’s house for one year to collect. The mysteries surrounding her aunt didn’t end with why she had been lied to about her death. Recruited by the police to solve a town’s murder, Kat relies on an unlikely source to solve the crime: the ghosts residing in her aunt’s Victorian home.

Ravenwood: Volume One

Along Route 116 where the state road weaved its way through the backwoods of Massachusetts was the lane leading to Ravenwood. It was easy to miss. The only travelers in that area were either lost or looking for the old Europeanesque inn. The only people who traveled west of Ravenwood were the people who had grown up there. They knew the woods, feared the creatures who dwelled there, but they respected them. They had made friends with the woods for it were the trees who wouldn’t let you leave.

The Below

All manner of supernatural and mythical beasts dwell in The Below. Their refuge underground has kept them safe for centuries. Phillipe had always known he would never go to The Above. He was the last of his kind, and he hadn’t always followed the rules. He accepted this as his fate until he learned the truth about his parents. Their murder and the lies that covered it up sparked an outrage. There was only one way justice would be carried out, and that was by Phillipe’s own hands.

Jennifer also wrote a YA Elemental series:

Air: The Elementals Book One

Lilah is not at all pleased about her family’s move to the Midwest regardless of the circumstances behind why they were summoned. It’s unfair she has to trade in her days in the sun on the beach for the lackluster cornfields and bare trees filled autumn. Especially since it is centuries old rules and traditions dictating her family’s code. That is until she meets Jackson. The timing of events couldn’t be more wrong. Secrets are revealed and psychic powers unleashed as she comes into her own while navigating the diminishing fine line between family honor and independence. Will she be able to help the other Elements fight the unknown force hunting them down while forging her own identity? Air is the first book in The Elementals series revealing the truth behind myths and legends dating back millennia. Time is running out for the four to bring about the Return and restore Balance to the earth.

Earth: The Elementals Book Two

Everleigh is torn between her grandma’s old fashioned ways and wanting to unite the Elementals in the fight to save their people.

Fire: The Elementals Book Three

Judd is torn between two identities. The private life he leads has to remain a secret. It’s the only way to save his son. The life he’s known by is a past filled with carnage and intimidation. His people are being hunted, and he has to figure out a way to save them without putting his family at risk.

Check out more of Jennifer’s work on her Amazon Author Page, Twitter, and Linktree.

Another rough morning …

This is the actual story that inspired episode 6, The Toothbrush, from my Kindle Vella story, The Trifecta.

I went to the store last week, and I forgot to get a toothbrush. There was one in the drawer, so I used it.  I’ve been using it for the past week. Andrew comes into my room this morning at 8:45 and says, “Why are you using my toothbrush?”

“What?” I said, not awake yet, and still on my first cup of coffee.

“You stole my toothbrush,” he accuses.

I respond with, “It was in the drawer. Go eat breakfast.”

Andrew walks away and comes back five seconds later. “I can’t believe you stole my toothbrush.”

“Really? It was in the drawer, not being used. I didn’t steal it,” I said, exasperated.

Andrew narrows his eyes at me. “It was mine. I distinctly remember asking the lady for an orange and black toothbrush.”

“It’s blue and black,” I counter.

He says, “It has some orange on it.”

“OMG! Get over it and go eat,” I say, exacerbated.

Andrew walks away and comes back three seconds later. “I can’t believe you stole my toothbrush!”

Insane, maniacal laughter comes out of me at this point because of the sheer ridiculousness of it.

Now he comes into my room instead of standing in the doorway.

“I want my toothbrush back.”

 I practically yell, “I’m already using it! You can’t have it.”

“I’ll just wash it a million times.”

“Why do you care so much about this stupid toothbrush?”

“I was going to use it when my Star Wars one dies.”

“What? I’ll just get you a new Star Wars one.”

“No, I want that one.”

“Why?”

“Because.”

Then it dawns on me that he has a crush on the pretty, young dental hygienist who gave him the toothbrush. So I ask, “Is it because you like the pretty hygienist that gave it to you?”

He walks away without answering.

I shout, “Ahaha! That’s it, isn’t it? You like it because she gave it to you!”

He refuses to answer and goes into the bathroom. I follow, watching as he snatches my toothbrush with a scowl.

“Give me my toothbrush back! We can ask her for a new one,” I said, slightly amused now.

He shakes his head.

“Fine!” I open the drawer and pick the green one, and put it in my now empty toothbrush spot. “Happy?”

He stares at the green toothbrush and asks suspiciously, “Where did you get the green one?”

“It’s mine!” I snap.

Andrew says, “I’ve never seen it before.” 

Before I can respond, he runs off with the toothbrush I was using, and when I leave the bathroom, he goes back in there and spends five minutes washing it with disinfecting soap.

Author Interview with Miranda Herald

1. Day: What literary pilgrimages have you gone on? For Example, Hemingway’s house.

Miranda: I haven’t had the privilege to be able to do one of these, but I would love to take my kids on a Laura Ingles Wilder trip.

2. Day: If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing a book that took place in that same setting, where would you choose?

Miranda: Australia. I would love to visit the down under, and I feel like there are so many adventure stories that could start there as one of the last really wild places on earth.

3. Day: Picture this: You feel uninspired while you have sat at the computer for an hour without conquering any words. How do you get your creativity flowing?

Miranda: I only have small snippets of time to work on my writing between the other things going on in my life. If I can’t write for whatever reason, I have a long list of other things I work on, such as marketing, newsletters, social media posts, etc.. When I come back later, I can usually write unless I’m super tired and just need the day off. Then I just take a day off.

4. Day: Are you a plotter or a Pantser?

Miranda: Plotter! I like to have an idea where I’m going, and it really stressed me out when I tried to start a Vella that I didn’t know the ending to until I got there.

5. Day: What is your most unusual writing quirk?

Miranda: I try to keep my readers on their toes while still following the characters personality. It makes for some interesting twists.

6. Day: What is your favorite genre to read, and why?

Miranda: I read all kinds of things depending on my mood at the time- mystery, romance, and fantasy are probably the ones I gravitate to most.

7. Day: Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?

Miranda: I try to be original, but am working on trying to deliver what readers want while still being original. We will see if I succeed!

8. Day: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Miranda: I’m still not that advanced of a writer, but I can already see improvements in my work, so I would probably just suggest to keep going!

9. Day: What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

Miranda: Developmental edit. I learned a ton that I can use for my future writing.

10. Day: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

Miranda: Ocelot. I like having a pen name. It feels like I have a whole secret identity and lets me hide in plain sight like the Ocelot.

11. Day: How many published and finished books/Vellas do you have?

Miranda: I have two nonfiction books self-published under a different name that I wrote years ago. More recently, I started writing fiction books. I currently have one Vella that I wrote in a serial fashion that is almost complete, Loves Cats, Anonymous. I also have four other books that are almost complete but are currently at different stages in the editing process. So keep an eye out for my Riddling through Romance Series and Smitten Scientists Series that are coming soon.

12. Day: What does literary success look like to you?

Miranda: Having my book on the shelves of people I never met.

13. Day: What’s the best way to market your books?

Miranda: Still working on that one. I have a newsletter and have begun tinkering with Facebook ads, but I have a long journey ahead of me.

14. Day: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Miranda: I usually do internet research and mix in some of the more interesting aspects of my own personal experience.

15. Day: How many hours a day do you write?

Miranda: Roughly two- three. I am homeschooling my four kids under nine for a good portion of the day and can only squeeze out a few hours here and there.

16. Day: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Miranda: I do! I love those little easter eggs, and even if no one else figures them out, they make me smile.

17. Day: What was your most harrowing scene to write?

Miranda: My first makeout scene. I just kept picturing my dad reading it.

18. Day: What is your favorite time to write, and why?

 Miranda: I get most of my writing done after the kids go to bed. Otherwise, I have the two-year-old interrupting me every few minutes looking for snacks and my nine-year-old looking over my shoulder while I’m trying to write more intimate scenes.

19. Day: Do you feel like it’s most important to have A) Strong characters B) Mind-blowing Plot twists, or C) Epic settings?

Miranda: I’m shooting for all 3! Although I think it’s the characters that make people really connect with a story.

20. Day: Can you give a shout-out to a fellow author?

Miranda: I really am enjoying the Honoria Porter series by Stephanie K. Clemens. Her main character is really fantastic.

Miranda’s current Vella’s are:


Loves Cats, Anonymous

The werewolf cat has gone viral! Cat loving Katrina has become an active member of the Loves Cats online forum. It’s all fun and memes until member Catman007 begins sending her mysterious messages. Curiosity getting the best of her, Kat works to uncover the cryptic puzzles and realizes more is at stake than her precious cats. When she discovers more about the mystery, she begins to fear she’s the one who will need nine lives to survive.


Vella Author Show

Are you a Kindle Vella author or want to be a Vella author? Start here to learn from the Professionals! This Vella is a written interview series where authors share how they personally have gained success and overcome specific challenges. Get a step ahead by learning the mistakes other Vella authors made. Get advice from some of the top 100 Vella authors on how they became chartbusters. Learn how others create and market their stories on Kindle Vella. New episodes every Tuesday.


Outwitting Paradise: Available Any Day Now!

You can find Miranda on Amazon and Facebook.

Author Interview with Kristen Dutkiewicz


1.    Day: What literary pilgrimages have you gone on? For Example, Hemingway’s house.
Kristen: I wish I had a better answer for you with this one! I have not been on any, unfortunately!
 
2.    Day: If you had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world for a year while writing a book that took place in that same setting, where would you choose?
Kristen: Fantastic question! If I could live anywhere in the world, I would choose to live in Italy or Greece because I have never been overseas and would love to be more culturally aware.
 
3.    Day: Picture this: You feel uninspired while you have sat at the computer for an hour without conquering any words. How do you get your creativity flowing?
Kristen: My first step would be to walk away from the computer. Most likely, I would go for a walk or do some sort of physical activity!
 
4.    Day: Are you a plotter or a Pantser?
Kristen: 100% a plotter!
 
5.    Day: What is your most unusual writing quirk?
Kristen: All names have to mean something to me. Every character’s name has a meaning!
 
6.    Day: What is your favorite genre to read, and why?
Kristen: I LOVE thrillers because nothing gets me more excited than a surprise twist.
 
7.    Day: Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
Kristen: Because I write all genres, I would hope readers knew what best would meet their interests with my works.
 
8. Day: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Kristen: Keep going 😉
 
9. Day: What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?
Kristen: My laptop!
 
10. Day: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
Kristen: Turtles have always been my favorite so I have to say that.
 
11. Day: How many published and finished books do you have?
Kristen: Over ten published on Kindle Vella as well as in paperback and with Kindle Unlimited. 
 
12. Day: What does literary success look like to you?
Kristen: Success to me is simply being able to share my writings with the world.
 
13. Day: What’s the best way to market your books?
Kristen: Social media has worked the best for me.
 
14. Day: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
Kristen: Google is my best friend when writing books!
 
15.   Day: How many hours a day do you write?
Kristen: It varies, but I would say, on average, two to four.
 
16. Day: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?
Kristen: I do.
 
17. Day: What was your most harrowing scene to write?
Kristen: There are some tough ones in my novella, The Texts From Last Night.
 
18. Day: What is your favorite time to write, and why?
 Kristen: I love writing first thing in the morning before I get too busy and when the house is quiet.
 
19.   Day: Do you feel like it’s most important to have A) Strong characters B) Mind-blowing Plot twists or C) Epic settings?

Kristen: Why not all three? 

20.   Day: Can you give a shout-out to a fellow author?
Kristen: Colleen Hoover has been a recent inspiration for many of my romance books. Thanks, CoHo!
 
Top Three Kindle Vella works:
 
I’m Still Me
What started as annoying yet non-threatening quickly changed every aspect of LeeAnn Taylor’s life. Engaged to her high school sweetheart and a successful Kindergarten teacher, LeeAnn loved her life. As she hugged her students farewell on their last day of school, she felt a tingling sensation on her nose and assumed it was a side effect of her emotions. Two months later, she had a diagnosis: multiple sclerosis. Luckily, LeeAnn was a fighter. And she would not have to fight alone.
  
Too Late
Sandy Palmer just wanted one drink at the bar after a long day at work. She never asked for attention. She never asked for the guy across the bar to order her a second drink. She never asked for him to touch her. And she never asked for the guy in the corner to intervene… Don’t miss this steamy story about two strangers who met in a bar.

 
Mystical Missy and Her Life of Magical Events
Missy never asked to have magical powers, but when she survived a fire as a baby, with no burns or marks, this was only the start of her magical abilities. Follow the journey of mystical Missy as she discovers a new power each year of her magical life.

 
 
Top Three Paperback/Kindle Unlimited works:
 
You Don’t Look Sick
In 2014, Kristen’s world flipped upside down when she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis while working as a Kindergarten teacher in her mid-twenties.

Through this book, join her as she finds her path to health and journey to living the best life possible! Included with her personal story of how she was finally put on the proper medication are ten words of advice for those living with MS, more details about this autoimmune disease, and suggestions for what not to say to people with invisible illnesses.

This is a personal and TRUE story told by a girl who survived a tough year of fighting for the right to be treated.
 
The Clover Girls
Four best friends.

Follow Zoey, Catherine, Allison, and Valerie as they survive their high school years, marriages, careers, and life choices, all while having each other to lean on.

Zoey’s parents struggled to keep their marriage together while raising four children, and Zoey swore when she grew up, she would never be like her mom.

Catherine was the only one of the four friends to stick with track and field when entering high school, and her parents believed this would be her ticket into college and a future.

Allison had to work extra hard to maintain passing grades but found herself in a school play and dating the boy in school everyone wanted.

Valerie was determined to be noticed by anyone, and she finally found a connection with someone after years of just trying to fit in.

That was before… Where are they now?

People and plans have a funny way of changing with time.

Told from alternating timelines, readers will get to know all four characters on an intimate level and soon feel like they have been their personal friends for years.

We all grow up, but do we have to grow apart?

Some friendships are meant to last through all the ups and downs, and this is one of those friendships.
 
 
All the Stages
Every romantic relationship can be broken down primarily into six stages.

This is the love story of Alaina Hall and Billy Mulligan, a couple who experienced all the stages.

Alaina first met Billy when he transferred to her elementary school, and while it took a few years to solidify their relationship, once they began dating, it was pure bliss.

But no one is perfect.

After high school, Billy and Alaina attended different colleges. Late one night, Alaina was awoken to a phone call from Billy, in which he said three little words: “I messed up.”

Spoiler: This is not the ending to the story.

Every story must come to an end, though… What will be their ending?

For more by Kristen Dutkiewicz, check out her LinkTree. She has many more works! Don’t forget to follow her on Amazon, her website, Instagram, and Twitter.